Okla. Child Molester Ordered to Find a New Home After He Moved Next-Door to His Victim
A convicted sex offender who moved next door to his victim after his recent release from prison must find a new home
A convicted sex offender who moved next-door to his victim following his recent release from prison must find a new home after an Oklahoma judge granted a protective order prohibiting him from living within 1,000 feet of the niece he molested when she was a little girl.
PEOPLE confirms that 21-year-old Danyelle Dyer was granted the order against her uncle, Harold English, during a hearing held Thursday before Judge Richard Woolery.
English, now 65, served more than a dozen years behind bars following his 2004 conviction on lewd molestation charges. Upon his release on June 13, English moved into his mother’s home in Bristow, Oklahoma — only yards away from Dyer.
“I was coming back from class and he was out mowing in my grandmother’s backyard, and it made me uneasy just being home,” Dyer told PEOPLE in June. “I go to school in Edmond, [Oklahoma,] so I’m only home half the time, and I think twice before going home now. I have a very close family, so it’s hard for me to not constantly be with them.”
Five states, including Alabama and Tennessee, place restrictions on how far an offender can live from his or her victim.
Oklahoma statute bars sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or child care facility, but it does not restrict where offenders may live in relation to their victims.
State Rep. Kyle Hilbert tells PEOPLE he’s “very happy” for Dyer, who was unavailable for comment Monday, but notes the protective order only resolves her dilemma and not that of other victims who might be in similar situations.
“She is almost certainly not the only person going through this right now,” he says.
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“This protective order lasts forever, but even with this happening and us getting a positive result for the family, I will still move forward with legislation that will bar sex offenders from living within a certain distance of their victims,” Hilbert says.
“A victim should not have to hire an attorney and go through this legal process and face their assailants in court again,” he says.
Hilbert lauded how Dyer has “been able to highlight this issue” far beyond Oklahoma.
“She has brought national attention to this loophole and is going to help victims all over the country,” he says. “I’ve already had two different attorneys contact me who have been involved in similar cases. I thought, ‘Surely, this never happens,’ but unfortunately it does.”
Oklahoma’s legislature meets between February and May, meaning lawmakers won’t return to the capital until 2018. Hilbert has said he hopes to get his new bill in front of the state house as soon as possible.
“I was pretty outraged,” Dyer said in June. “But I have channeled that rage into a more positive outlet, which, for me, is sharing my story and empowering other victims of sexual assault.”
PEOPLE has been unable to reach English or his mother for comment, and Dyer said that she, too, had had no contact with them since June 13.
“I think Danyelle is okay for trying to get a law passed,” her grandmother told CNN in June. “But she shouldn’t blame me for what happened because this is my son and I just give him a place to stay until he can find a place on his own.”
“I don’t agree with what my son did,” English’s mother said.
Dyer told PEOPLE that she no longer wanted anything to do with her grandmother because of the older woman’s decisions. When Dyer was in high school, her uncle was released and lived with her grandmother until he violated probation and “went right back” to prison, Dyer said.
She said she wrote her grandmother a letter about the situation, but she did not get a reply.
“She is supposed to protect me, she is supposed to take care of me,” Dyer said, “so for her to turn on me like this, she obviously doesn’t care about me.”